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My first Linux User Group meeting 2 November 2001
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I went to my first Linux User Group meeting tonight. It was run by the Ottawa Canada Linux User Group. There were about 70 people there. Guest speakers included Hung Vu of Armored Networks and Rasmus Lerdorf of the PHP Project.

Why was I there? The main reason was I was invited. I had already agreed to do a [Free]BSD presentation for the group on 3 January. It was suggested that coming along and seeing the group first might be a good idea. It was. I am glad I went. To some of you this may be a surprise, but Linux users aren't evil. They are the largest source of potential FreeBSD users. We have more in common than we have in differences. It is unfortunate that the immature amongst both groups prefer to concentrate on silly and irrelevant arguements instead of fostering a spirit of mutual respect.

My future talk

My talk will be on BSD, primarily FreeBSD, and the similarities and differences between BSD and Linux. I'll be using material from both Greg Lehey and Nik Clayton as the basis for my talk. They had some very good stuff which is going to give me a huge head start. And the folks at FreeBSD Mall have given me some CDs to distribute.

If there is sufficient interest, I'll organize a FreeBSD install at a later date.

The PHP talk

It was a very pleasant talk from Rasmus Lerdorf of the PHP project. As you know, I've been using PHP on this website and FreshPorts for a number of years. It is my primary and preferred tool for dynamic content. His talk was entertaining and informative. The person next to me remarked that he had no idea that php could be used with such a wide variety of databases. In that regard, I think Rasmus' talk converted at least one person.

The most interesting idea from this talk was the idea of using an ErrorDocument 404 handler for dynamic content. I'm quite sure this concept is what we are going to use for FreshPorts2, where we are going to allow URLs such as to take you to the logcheck port.

What I've been doing lately

It has been about 7 weeks since my last article. That doesn't mean I haven't been busy. During this time, I've done many things, most of which are not directly FreeBSD related. Yes, I do have a busy life away from the keyboard.

Mountain biking

Since arriving in Ottawa back in May, I've spent a great deal of time mountain biking. I've been into the Gatineau hills many times. I especially like one trail we've found which is very under used, filled with single track, and a nice 45 minute loop. One day, before the snow settles, I want to do a couple more laps around there.

I've also been spending a great deal of time at Kanata Lakes. This forested area has many bits of single track, with quite a few nice loops. I've been avoiding the Dark Side, as my first enounter with that area did not bode well. It's a very technical area. I prefer to ride more than 45 seconds without dismounting for the next vertical rock face. But the rest of the area has large areas suitable for advanced to expert riders.

I've even managed to make it down to Potsdam NY and ride the single track at a university there. I like that. I'd like to go down again this weekend, but it seems most people have given up cycling for the season. I don't mind riding alone. It's just that with a road trip, it's good to have company. Besides, the border crossing is easy if you are not alone.

The FreeBSD Diary

Even if you can't see any change, it does happen. I've been working on the structure of the website and improving it. I used it as the basis for the new FreshPorts development area. Now that we are going to have multiple developers, each with their own website and database, it's good to see that we can use the flexibility inherent within the structure.


If you use the ports tree, and you aren't a registered FreshPorts user, you should be. As a registered user, you can add your favourite ports to a watch list. If any change occurs to those ports, you will be sent a notification email detailing the change. And yes, it's all free.

Public disclosure: Yes, FreshPorts is my website....

The work on FreshPorts2 has resumed. We will be adding many new features, including, but not limited to:

  • /category/port URLs: browse to your favourite port using a pathname
  • register all of your installed ports using a FreshPorts shell script
  • the functionality to expand the FreshPorts concept to any source tree

When will FreshPorts2 be ready? I don't know. It depends on how fast we work.

Volunteers wanted!

We're always looking for volunteers for the FreshPorts projects. Right now, we're in need of someone to do a face lift on the website to make it look better than it is now... But we can always use more hands to do php/html work. If you are interested, join the FreshPorts Develop mailing list by sending a message to majordomo at with "subscribe develop" in the body of the message. Once you are subscribed, just let us know that you're there and what type of stuff you'd like to do.

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